The Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) represents a worldwide network of more than 1,000 member companies from across the United States and 15 other countries from around the globe that provide cleaning, facility maintenance, security, landscaping, and other related services to building owners and managers. Each year, BSCAI typically hosts three in-person events that provide building service contractors the education and networking opportunities they need to stay informed and connected to their industry. In 2020, BSCAI was able to execute its first event in January, but, due to COVID-19, was forced to cancel its second annual event – set to take place in May – and shifted its fall conference to a virtual experience. Because the industry BSCAI serves was directly impacted by the pandemic and the next opportunity to convene wouldn’t be until October, new virtual oﬀerings were created to meet the immediate needs of its members.
The BSCAI team knew it needed to make investments in new resources in order to provide its members with the information and education they needed as soon as possible. If they were not proactive to their members’ needs, BSCAI was at risk of losing current members and could struggle to recruit new members in the future. To maintain positive relations with members for its cancelled spring conference, attendee registration fees were either refunded or converted to registrations for the fall conference. Additionally, BSCAI has a successful year-round sponsorship program that bundles access and exposure at its three annual events, and with the cancellation of the May event, BSCAI needed to come up with alternative digital packages for its sponsors.
The importance of cleaning professionals and disinfection services increased with the onset of the pandemic and BSCAI members were turning to the association for education regarding disinfection techniques specifc to COVID-19, qualifed labor shortages, government stimulus, and changing federal guidelines. The cleaning industry played a vital role in keeping the world open for business, and members’ need for information-sharing, inspiration, business intelligence, supplier solutions, and best practices were critical. BSCAI’s next event wasn’t scheduled until October of that year, so delivering education and networking opportunities in other formats was critical.
To immediately address the critical needs of members, BSCAI rolled out several new virtual oﬀerings and resources in 2020. Weekly virtual town halls moderated by BSCAI’s president, president-elect, and executive director were oﬀered so members could ask questions, share their experiences, and hear from industry experts. A resource center was created to centralize information and relevant content for members, including links to government resources, materials from suppliers, and templates and checklists that members could use to adapt their businesses in a fast-changing market. BSCAI further supported this with a weekly e-newsletter that highlighted recently added organizational news and updates, and dates for upcoming town halls and webinars. BSCAI’s webinar series was also revitalized and enhanced, with the channel used to share critical information from industry experts and partners.
The organization had planned to launch a new podcast series in the spring of 2020, but with the pandemic taking hold of the country just before the March 2020 scheduled launch, BSCAI added a line-up of COVID-19 and infectious disease experts as featured interview subjects in the series podcast.
A first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Disinfection and Safety Course, one of the few publicly available educational oﬀerings targeting frontline cleaners, was also launched by BSCAI. The training was custom-built for frontline cleaners and addressed personnel safety and eﬀective disinfection techniques specifc to COVID-19, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The course’s technical accuracy and practical training met the needs and expectations of both members’ customers and their employees. The three-hour course was priced to be very aﬀordable for companies to deploy to frontline cleaners. Employees who successfully completed the course were awarded a certifcate proving understanding of key concepts. Importantly, BSCAI also created a Spanish language version of the course based on requests by its members.
"A great and impactful event, allowing our industry and its partners to stay connected through these times. These few days together provided our members education and networking opportunities to stay connected and further build their relationships."
– BSCAI Virtual Conference Attendee
Oﬀering new products and an end-of-year virtual event resulted in success for BSCAI while supporting the needs of its members. BSCAI met its re-forecasted revenue targets, achieved registration numbers for its virtual event that exceeded its largest, recent in-person conference, served a broader audience of building and service contractors, received overwhelmingly positive feedback, connected sponsors with the community, and set the bar high for virtual events in the industry. BSCAI was proactive in developing aﬀordable educational oﬀerings for frontline workers, and by doing so, created a new revenue stream that helped to combat the losses from its cancelled inperson event. The investments made created goodwill with members and caught the attention of prospective members. BSCAI’s focus on delivering member value when it was most needed paid oﬀ and the organization realized membership growth in 2020. New memberships in its contractor category increased by 60 percent and revenue from new members increased by 68 percent (both as compared to 2019). While BSCAI had been planning to create more digital oﬀerings, the pandemic quickly pushed them to adapt and many of the digital resources that were created in 2020 will remain in its plan for 2021. Since the virtual oﬀerings were so successful, BSCAI believes that the association can reach more members with the digital content moving forward.